The same old stories, yet you have me hook, line and sinker each time.
But what can the numbers tell us about this woeful Everton performance?
Old Problems Resurfacing
Everton picking up more points v “Big 6” than rest of league
When Everton are the underdogs, they tend to find a way to get a result.
But when they’re expected to win, things often don’t work out.
Against Sky’s so-called “Big 6” this season, Everton have picked up 2 points per game on average. But against the rest of the league, the Blues average drops down to 1.73 points per game.
Surely these numbers should be the other way round. After all, Everton should be expecting to beat most teams outside the top six, especially at home. But that’s just not happening.
Ever since the Roberto Martinez era, mediocre teams can follow a very simple blueprint if they want to get a result at Goodison Park: “keep it tight and let Everton have the ball – they won’t know what to do with it”.
It was a problem that plagued Roberto Martinez’s second and third season in charge, plus Marco Silva’s reign. Hopefully Carlo will find a way to deal with this issue.
Sigurdsson didn’t play a single pass in the direction of West Ham’s penalty area
Gylfi has enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent weeks, but against West Ham United, he put in a horribly conservative display that was indicative of Everton’s entire performance.
Lining up in an attacking midfield role (i.e. the team’s “creative playmaker”) the Icelandic midfielder didn’t play a single pass in the direction of West Ham’s penalty area and he barely played a forward pass in the entire game – as you can see from his pass map below.
It wasn’t all on him by any means, this is – and has been for a long-time – a problem with Everton’s play in matches they’re expected to dominate possession.
Players receive the ball, look up, can’t see an option and play a “safe” sideways or backward pass, rather than knowing the pass they are going to make before receiving the ball. It’s why teams don’t need to get out of second gear to keep Everton at bay.
Everton put just one cross into six-yard box
There’s been some ludicrous media reporting that DCL is now out of form having gone five games without a goal.
But the truth is, his performances haven’t dipped – his supply of chances has simply dried up.
Every single DCL goal this season in the league was scored within ten yards of goal and 55% of those were inside the six-yard box.
Against West Ham though, just one pass or cross arrived in the six-yard box, and that came from James Rodriguez late on.
The simple fact has been that without the consistent presence of Richarlison, James Rodriguez and, especially, Lucas Digne, Calvert-Lewin just isn’t being given the chances he was getting at the start of the season.
0.37 Expected Goals
Everton fail to test stand-in West Ham keeper
The Blues were dealt massive advantage for this game when the Manchester City game was called off. It mean that Everton had six days “off” since the last game, while this was West Ham’s third game in six days.
West Ham’s keeper even got injured in the warm-up, leaving the hardly convincing Darren Randolph between the sticks at a moment’s notice. But Everton provided the 33-year-old with an easy ride, getting just two shots on target – neither of which looked likely to threaten his hopes of a clean sheet.
Blues could have gone second, but are now just 3pts clear of 10th
Once again, this result felt like a wasted opportunity for Everton. After beating Leicester City, Arsenal and Chelsea in recent weeks, West Ham join the likes of Southampton, Newcastle and Leeds United to have beaten the Blues.
With a win here, Everton would have (very temporarily) moved up to second and just one point behind Liverpool. Instead, the Blues will likely end the weekend in around sixth position and just three points clear of 10th.
It’s not disastrous, of course, but it felt like yet another false dawn.